TALLINN - President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said on Feb. 10 in a speech at the opening event of the Year of the Gulf of Finland that protection of the Gulf of Finland needs the cooperation of the countries of the region, but this doesn’t necessarily mean restricting human activities, reports Postimees Online.
“We, who are located at and live by the Gulf, are responsible for the Gulf of Finland primarily. It is, first and foremost, the joint responsibility of Estonia, Finland and Russia to make sure our living environment is clean,” said Ilves.
“This doesn’t mean that human activities have to be avoided on the coasts of the Gulf. On the contrary, I hope that our reciprocal ties across the Gulf get more active, that the Gulf would connect us more with our neighbors. We have to favor and support activities of people at the coast and sea, where it, due to the occupation, has somewhat decreased over time. But we will also have to be responsible for the activities, by preserving the nature of our sea, not wasting it.”
Ilves said that the aim of the Year of the Gulf of Finland is to give more impetus to trilateral cooperation between Estonia, Finland and Russia to improve the environmental state of the gulf.
“Estonia has over the past ten years invested over 600 million euros for improving the state of the Gulf of Finland waters,” said Ilves, adding that attention has to be paid also to the pollution inland that reaches the sea by rivers.
“During the Year of the Gulf of Finland this year, joint research will be supplemented by including the people living by the Gulf of Finland into acknowledging environmental problems and looking for solutions. This is also the reason why we, with colleagues from Finland and Russia, started to support the Year of the Gulf of Finland and are its patrons,” said Ilves.